Customers are asking for quotes. What do I say?
Find out why some leads call you asking for a quote, what they're really after, and why it's time to put this sales model out to pasture.
If you are operating in an area where competitors are still running quote processes, you may find that prospective customers will call you and, thinking that is just the way it works, will ask for a quote. If you’ve just opened your facility and are showing prices online and letting people book themselves, this can be a bit confusing and some Stora users have asked us what to do. I have also encountered the same thing at my own self storage facility business, StoreStuff.
First of all, it’s worth recognising that the customer doesn’t really want a quote - what they want to know is the price. They just use the term ‘quote’ because that is the term that other operators have used with them.
Secondly, customers don’t really want to be doing this merry little dance searching for quotes at all. These are the same customers who can get instant prices for flights, hotels, spas and almost anything else online, then go ahead and book. What they want is to quickly find a price that they know is competitive at a location that matches the quality and service they are looking for. Then they want to make the booking with minimal fuss and maximum speed.
Lean In to Your Differentiator
Your customers will, on the whole, be pleasantly surprised to hear that you don’t require them to get in touch to get a quote. They’ll generally appreciate you for making their life easier. They will also trust you more because they can see that you aren’t trying to hide anything (in this case, prices!). So, what we find works well is to say something like this when they phone asking for a quote:
“Oh we don’t do quotes. We believe in making life as easy as possible for our customers, so we don’t hide our prices. Instead, we openly show them on our website and even allow you to go ahead and book instantly online in seconds. If you find a cheaper price at a competitor, let us know and we will match it, though we tend to find that our prices are 10% lower than competitors because we are new and running lower prices to attract new customers. I’m happy to find a price for you though - what unit size were you looking at?”
(then go on to provide the price and, in our case, we try and get the booking on the phone while the customer is there rather than suggesting they go back to the website to complete the booking).
It can be tempting to think of this the other way - everyone else is providing quotes so I need to. Just keep in mind that the customer’s actual task is finding out the price and getting a booking made, and your approach (with Stora’s help) is the best and easiest way for them to complete that task.
Lean into that benefit and watch the sales accelerate.
What is a quote process?
A quote process is where a self storage operator typically hides their prices on their website behind a contact collection form. The wannabe customer must fill in the form, typically including name, email address and telephone number, before they can see the prices.
Prices are often then shown and/or emailed to the customer who will typically then expect to receive phone calls and/or email follow ups. In some instances, prices still aren’t shown and are only disclosed on a telephone call or email to the customer.
A quote process involves significant time commitment from both the customer and staff as manual steps are taken to disclose the price then take a booking and payment details.
Should I run a quote process in my self storage business?
Before the internet, a quote process was how you booked almost anything like this (anyone remember how hard it was to book flights and/or hotels before the internet? Remember travel agencies!?). But, as soon as technology made it easy for these industries to let customers book and pay online, every operator had to embrace it.
- By giving customers prices and the ability to book online, you significantly enhance the customer experience (demand and, in turn, prices increase, pushing up profits)
- By removing the need for staff to spend ~15-60 minutes dealing with every booking, costs are reduced significantly, also pushing up profits.
Over time, airlines, hotels, and almost anyone in any other similar industry who did not remove the quote process went out of business. My prediction? Now that tools like Stora make it easy to provide online bookings and payments, anyone not embracing this will become increasingly uncompetitive and will eventually go out of business.
So, short answer, no.
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